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Jul 15, 2012 12:19 PM

How to dry these onions?

Just read that it's now time in my area (southern CA) to begin drying the onion plants. This is the first time I've grown onions, and I have a conundrum. Instructions said to quit watering, and when the tops turn brown, bend them down to complete drying till autumn. However, my onions are in a raised bed with tomatoes and other veggies, all of which receive automatic watering. Can't stop watering the onions without killing the other stuff. Tried putting plastic bags over the onions overnight (when the water cycle comes on), but that's impractical for the duration. Ideas??

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  1. sigh. Are my onions doomed to perdition? Did find some info on-line, so hoping I'll get some yield, after all.

    1. I would pull them up and set them in the sun to dry.

      1. I harvest my onions when the tops fall over on their own. Once they do that, they don't get any bigger. I'll keep from watering them for a week or 2, then pull them out of the ground, and let them sit for 48-72 hours or so, in the sun, on a well ventilated rack (turn them after a day or 2).

        Then, I cut the tops off, and keep them in a cool, dark, dry place to conitnue to cure. Once you see the spot where you cut off the top completely dried out and the roots dried and wiry, they're ready for storage.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Novelli

          Thanks. The tops have fallen over, but I thought it was due to their height/weight--they're still green. Time to start pulling/drying? As noted in the OP, can't stop the watering system, though.

          1. re: pine time

            The top will fall when the bulb siezes to grow, regardless of the color of the scapes. Mine were also still green when harvested.

            See link for pics of my onion harvest earlier this year. The tops fell over, even though the scapes were still green


            I'd go ahead and start pulling them up, but move them to an area away from the watering to sun cure for a few days (helps develop the outter paper). Then you can cut the tops off (about 1-2 inches above the bulb) then move them to a dry, well ventilated place to dry out the cut area. After 2 weeks, you can bag them and store them in a pantry, cellar, or dark closet (make sure the spot you cut is completely dried before storage or they will rot).

            1. re: Novelli

              Wow, great pictures. Will harvest mine tomorrow.